Mary Hennock

Stories by Mary Hennock

  • China's Resource Grab Could Lead to Trouble

    PetroChina's recent decision to buy Singapore Petroleum Co. for up to $2.2 billion in cash must seem especially sweet to China's oil executives. They've been smarting ever since the U.S. blocked their 2005 bid to buy Unocal for national-security reasons. The deal would bring PetroChina control of oil wells in five Asian countries and a nice slice of an important trans-ASEAN gas-pipeline network. But it's not just oil the Chinese are after. They're taking advantage of the global recession to go bargain hunting for all sorts of resource companies to satisfy the needs of their growing economy—setting off protectionist alarms in some target nations.Chinese aluminum conglomerate Chinalco's $19.5 billion bid to buy part of the Anglo-Australian mining giant Rio Tinto has Aussies in a fit. "Once in the spider's parlor, the fly doesn't often get out," Australia's former Treasury head John Stone said recently. And China's resource grab is likely to get only more contentious. The U.S. Pacific...
  • Going Back To the Farm

    As China's economy slows, millions of out-of-work rural migrants are being forced to return home.
  • An End to the Chinese Dream?

    A crumbling job market for college grads threatens the centerpiece of a nation's hopes for prosperity.
  • China's Reverse Brain Drain

    A booming China is luring home its best and its brightest—along with some westerners as well.
  • Philanthropy inChina: Thanks for the Offer, But …

    Officials in China's devastated Sichuan province are getting a crash course in a novel concept: accepting philanthropy. Since the May 12 earthquake that killed nearly 70,000 people and destroyed homes across the region, millions may have been lost because officials were leery of taking money from nongovernmental organizations and private donors. In just one county, Mianzhu, a team from McKinsey Greater China recovered $2.2 million in a single week, says Qiu Tian, project manager for the pro bono effort. Her team scoured the local government's departmental logbooks for unreturned phone calls, rang back 50 neglected donors and persuaded 15 of them to renew their offers.The problem isn't corruption or even plain incompetence. All public life in China was state-controlled until recently (anything sensitive still is), and many not-for-profit groups are barely legal even now. Local officials can't help being nervous about working with them; in other parts of the world NGOs have been...
  • How the Earthquake Changed China

    As China rebuilds from the great quake, a changed country is emerging with some surprising winners and losers.
  • Everest Torch: The Full Price Of The Peak

    On May 8, mountaineers finally raised the Olympic torch atop Everest, beating high winds and snowstorms that destroyed their camps and rope routes. Official congratulators noted how admirably the team had overcome their difficulties.They deserve their success. But let's look at the cost of the climb. The total financial burden will probably never be known, but it includes the road China built into the mountain, the media center erected at its base and the 50 mountaineers kept there for two months, awaiting favorable conditions. Then there's the compensation to Nepal for lost revenue (the country had to close its side of the mountain during the height of climbing season, while the Olympic team summited).After Everest reopened, commercial climbers faced a difficult choice. They'd already spent much of the season corralled at base camp. Now, to reach the top before the summer monsoon arrives at the end of May (with its heavy snows and greater avalanche risk) is a chancy bet. And with...
  • Q&A: China’s Uighur Protests

    Curfews, headscarf bans and mass detentions. A Uighur activist discusses the protests against Beijing.
  • Beijing’s Visa Crackdown

    Every Olympic host takes counterterror precautions before the Games. But Beijing's housecleaning also includes foreign activists seeking the Olympic spotlight, some of whom condemn what they call the "Genocide Olympics." Chinese officials have also promised to deal harshly with any illegal protests by domestic dissidents. Recently, human-rights activist Wang Guilin was sentenced to re-education through labor, and blogger Hu Jia was charged with "inciting subversion." When NEWSWEEK visited Hu at his apartment on Dec. 20, he said that "if it weren't for the Olympics, I'd be behind bars now." A week later, he was.Until now, Beijing has never worried much about foreign protesters or terrorists. But a "clean up the expats" drive kicked off last August to combat the "gray market" visa industry run by shady agents who bribe crooked cops, allowing footloose foreigners to take casual jobs in Beijing. They include American copy editors, Philippine nannies and Russian traders, with some...